Monday, 30 April 2012

Blog Tour: Sovran's Pawn

My friend, JC Cassels, who you met a few weeks ago, has just published her first book of THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES series, SOVRAN'S PAWN. I invited her to come back and tell us about this book, just in case some of you are interested in scifi and might like to take a look at it. I can tell you that I have read snippets of the book, and it is intriguing. Anyways, enough from me. I'll hand you over to JC now.

United by extortion, divided by duty, someone wants them both dead. They want each other. The catch is, nothing is what it seems, including them.

Thank you for having me back, Laurel. I appreciate the chance to talk to your readers about my book.

SOVRAN’S PAWN is the first book in THE BLACK WING CHRONICLES series that tells the story of two Sovrans, or Sector Overlords, locked in a long-standing struggle for ruling power over the United Galactic Commonwealth. SOVRAN’S PAWN is about the two people whose lives are manipulated by the Overlords.

This book actually started out as part of the backstory for another book. Many years ago, I read a magazine article in which someone commented on how we take love for granted. In an environment of secrets, war, and lies, things like love and trust are impossible. That inspired me to look for circumstances and characters to explore that very statement. The idea of spies on opposing sides falling in love, or competing assassins falling for one another evolved into Bo and Blade.

She’s a wrongly convicted traitor and he’s a government agent. She’s by-the-book, and he treats everything with equal contempt. She’s all about duty and responsibility and he can’t get away from it quickly enough. Both of them are damaged exiles. She wants to go back home and home is the last place he wants to be. It’s only through learning how to love and trust each other completely that they’re going to get what they most want. SOVRAN’S PAWN is the first step on that journey.

In a nutshell, that’s the essence of what the series is about. I hope you enjoy reading SOVRAN’S PAWN as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Thank you for letting me stop by today.

BO BARRON is the pawn in two Sovrans’ struggle for power. As the Chief of Barron Clan she commands the Black Wing, a strategic asset crucial to the balance of power in a Commonwealth in contention. That’s the reason she was falsely convicted of treason and sentenced to be executed. Instead of letting her meekly go to her death, Bo’s people risk all-out war by breaking her out and smuggling her into hiding. It’s what they do. They’re pirates at heart.

But if she can’t be killed, she can be manipulated. How? By kidnapping her father. If Bo wants him back she has to take on a false name and steal the schematics for a phase weapon being auctioned off to the Sub-socia at a Five Point tournament.

BLADE DEVON knows all about false names. He has more than his share. As Darien Roarke, he’s a well-known Five-Point player. If Blade is willing to use his alter ego to retrieve those schematics, the Inner Circle is willing to overlook the fact that he’s technically a deserter.

A botched assassination under the guise of a bar brawl leaves Bo blind and Blade wondering if there isn’t more to this job than he was led to believe. Never able to resist playing the hero, Blade tends her injuries and delves deeper into the intrigue only to find this mission isn’t about a weapon at all.

The catch is, no one and nothing are what they seem…

One lucky reader commenting on this post will be chosen at random for a FREE e-book copy of SOVRAN’S PAWN.

Personal Bio:
JC Cassels, a native of Tampa, Florida, traces her lifelong fascination with SF/Adventure to watching Star Trek on a tiny black and white portable television aboard the family boat as a child. The Space Opera trend that followed the release of Star Wars fed an obsessive need for swashbuckling adventure set in deep space. Today, JC feeds that need by writing her own adventures, heavily inspired by 1960's television adventure shows like Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, and Wild Wild West and fueled by Firefly reruns.
When not writing in her haunted hospital, JC lives with her husband, three children, five dogs, four chickens and a horse in a century-old house in a tiny rural community, and enjoys spending her free time sewing, camping, and heckling theoretical physicists on the Science Channel.

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Sunday, 29 April 2012

So shoot me...

I've always wondered why I like to read thick books - and the thicker the better. Ok. Seriously, I haven't actually ever wondered that, but I have known for years now that I'm attracted to the thickest books in the library (or the bookshop) - preferably from either the scifi or fantasy genres - and the prettier or the more dramatic the cover, the better. Actually, better yet, give me a SERIES of thick books... that just about makes my year, I tell you. But I've just discovered that there is a reason for this attraction, and no wonder! Since I got a Kindle for my birthday back in November, I've read a lot of books on it. I've actually been keeping a record of the books I've read so far this year, and it's a minimum of twenty-five books. Granted, that includes a few novellas and some short stories, but also some longer ones. So, which light bulb lit up this evening? It's quite a shock, really. You see, I've just finished reading a novel - and I now need to go and find another book to read! And you know what? I cannot STAND choosing books. Especially when there's a line-up of at least thirty books (but more like over seventy!) waiting to be read. And none of those are part of a series (or at least a series that is get-able. They're effectively all stand-alone books, and I don't have a clue where to start because, given the ability, I'd read all of them simultaneously. Please excuse me while I go and sob into my pillow and try to choose my next book....

Saturday, 28 April 2012

SFFS 28/04/2012

I'm back with The Ship of Time this week, mostly because I've been writing it again. This stuff, though, was written in the first bout of writing when I initially embarked on the idea. The MC has, as we saw in the previous post, been in stasis, and the containment failed, leaving her lying on a metal walkway outside the alcove she had been housed in. She has now come to, and is beginning to explore.
Suspecting that her eyesight was fuzzy because of lack of use, she kept her eyes open, but deliberately blinked them often in the hopes they would adjust to being used sooner. Feeling her way, she found the raised edge of the opening to her left – the one that the green glow came from, and manoeuvred herself into a crouch with the help of the ledge, then pulling herself up to standing using the sides of the opening. Curious, she felt around the opening and discovered that it was quite a small, smooth alcove. Tapping the walls told her it was made of metal. She moved just right of the alcove, feeling with her hands along the wall. Not far from the edge of the alcove she came across a raised surface. She traced it out – it felt like the type of plaque one would find next to a door that tells you what’s through it. It puzzled her that she made these associations as she made discoveries since, so far as she could tell, she had no memories.
Please don't forget to have a look at the other snippets that my fellow authors have put up for SFFS. You can find them here.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Brought to You by the Letter B

From Amy Rose Davis, a great friend of mine and fabulous fantasy author.

How to Play: Comment to this entry and I’ll give you a letter. List ten things that you love that begin with that letter and then post that list on your journal.

My List: Ten Things I Love That Begin With The Letter B

  1. Babies (no surprises there!)
  2. Books
  3. Bread (fresh-baked)
  4. Board games
  5. Beaches
  6. Bundu-bashing (for non-SAs, that's aka bush walking).
  7. Beauty
  8. Bible
  9. Baths
  10. Buddies (friends, in another universe)
This seemed like a fun thing to do and a way to share a little about myself. Your turn! Comment and I’ll give you a letter for your blog, journal, Facebook page, whatever.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

SFFS 21/04/2012

I appear to have been dabbling lately, so thought I'd share a snippet from the WIP I'm working on currently. It's a rewrite of a scene I scribbled down back in 2010 called The Deadly Race, which you can read here if you want to. The scene comes straight from a dream I had around that time. I quite like the imagery still, so thought I'd see if I could improve on it and perhaps publish it as a short story. So far, even if I say so myself, it's loads better, and quite a bit longer.

Woken by the howling wind and a hollow gnawing in the pit of her stomach, Dana climbed out of her bed. After snuggling her feet into a pair of slippers, she moved over to the window and pulled the curtain aside. Rivulets of water ran down the panes, obscuring her view. The sense of foreboding stuck in her throat and she swallowed. Her weather-sense had been correct, again.

From her vantage point at the top of the ridge that formed the back of the horseshoe-shaped island, she could see the whole bay. The searching beams thrown out by the twin lighthouses - one at the end of each point - pierced through the darkness, though they would be little help on a night like this save as a too-late warning. She prayed no vessels were in trouble - they wouldn't stand a chance in the island chain.
Do swing past the other writers who share their work as part of SFFS. You can find links to their blogs here.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Judge Not...

I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately, and several things have happened in the last month or so that have helped me in my thinking... or at least pointed me in a direction. In our very unsettled world today - wars popping up left, right and centre, natural disasters, a fragile financial sector - those of us with even the remotest interest in politics (and other associated subjects) are very quick to apportion blame. This is something, however, that I have never felt comfortable doing, and I squirm when I hear others doing it. Perhaps it has something to do with having read this verse from Matthew 7:1-2 in the Bible (which is very clear in its import, even taken out of context):
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
I guess it depends on whether or not you believe that Jesus means what He says. I do. Elsewhere Paul writes to Timothy, saying (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
We're so, so quick to say that our leaders are 'doing it all wrong' and that 'we'd do a better job than them'. You know, they probably said the same themselves, once upon a time, and now they've got the job. But there is so much we don't know. We don't know what constraints they are working against, for starters. They may have all the same ideas we do, but they just cannot do it. How frustrating could that be? Moreover, what a huge responsibility - to make decisions that affect millions of people. One's just NEVER going to get that right. There will always be someone who is unhappy. The old adage 'You can't please everybody' comes to mind.

This final verse that I'll share may seem to be unrelated to what I've just said, but for me, it falls into the theme quite nicely (Luke 10:20).
20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
These words are spoken by Jesus after the seventy-two disciples, who He had sent out to tell people about the coming kingdom of God, had returned boasting that 'Even the demons submit to us in Your name' (Luke 10:17). Jesus responds to this exclamation by pointing their focus towards heaven, and that they need to take their eyes off what they see and experience, and instead look to heaven (God) with thankfulness.

For me, the message in this verse is that, in all things, I need to focus my mind on God and the things of God. And above all, on God's grace in gifting me salvation through Jesus Christ. Yes, one sees what is going on in the world around, but one needs to see it through God's eyes, not one's own - and the difference is literally worlds apart.